The Failure of Donald Trump

The White House. Photo by Callen Harty.

Some of my friends and relatives voted for Donald Trump. Some of my co-workers watched the inauguration on television at work while I sat at my desk and fought back tears at what my country had become. They did what they did for their own reasons.

The election was devastating to me and millions of others. I have been numb since November, overwhelmed with a feeling of emptiness and dread. But it is not just about politics with Donald Trump. This is important. It is not just about politics. I am a political junkie and in the past I have watched my favorite candidates lose and I have survived that with graciousness. I have watched the inaugural addresses of men I did not vote for because I wanted to see what they would say about uniting the country and doing the best job they could for the most people. While I didn’t support them I wanted them to succeed in the White House and be the best President for the American people.

The election of Donald Trump was different. While most of his policy ideas are things I cannot abide there were certain ideas he expressed with which I didn’t necessarily disagree. If he were almost anyone other than Donald Trump I would want to give him a chance and at the very least hope that he would not destroy our country by implementing the horrible policies he espoused on the campaign trail. Even then, living in Wisconsin I have seen firsthand that citizens can survive the very worst of government policies and leaders after living for the last six years under our 45th governor, Scott Walker, and all of his cronies in the legislature.

It is not Trump’s politics that bother me most. We can survive that. We can resist the worst of it. The issue is that regardless of political affiliation I expect the leader of our country to be a decent human being and I do not see that in Donald Trump. I see an arrogant, childish narcissist whose concern is not for the poor and downtrodden but for himself, and perhaps others of his ilk. I see a man who acts like an immature child as he gets into flame wars on Twitter with anyone who disagrees with him or counters something he says. I see a misogynistic cretin who is okay with grabbing women without consent because he is rich and powerful and simply because he can. I see a person who, again like a child, calls people names and makes fun of them for their looks, their disabilities, their culture, and more. This is not acceptable in a country that has long been a shining beacon for others.

I also see supporters and sycophants contorting themselves in incredible ways to excuse his behavior. These are people who would not accept the same behavior if they saw it from a stranger at the grocery store. The hypocrisy of self-proclaimed Christians supporting Trump is astounding to me. And yes, I know, many Christians do not support or condone him–this is about the hypocrites who proclaim to be Christians who accept his very unchristian behavior. Imagine Jesus Christ mocking a disabled man instead of opening his arms to him. Imagine Jesus violating a woman by grabbing her genitals because he is a man and she is there only for his pleasure. Imagine Jesus calling someone fat or ugly instead of accepting them for what is beautiful about them. These things are not what Jesus would do, and yet they have been rationalized away by right-wing Christians for the sake of some greater goal–whatever that might be. Justifications have been made for every egregious act committed by Donald Trump.

“He speaks what’s on his mind.”

Well, yes he does, and sometimes we all know it’s best not to utter everything that crosses one’s mind. A mature man who cares about the feelings and welfare of others knows when it’s best not to speak what’s on his mind. If what’s on a man’s mind is that it’s okay to grab women by their private parts then he should probably just not talk. If in his paranoid mind he gravitates to conspiracy theories put out by others then maybe a little silence on the lips is the best thing.

This is one of the problems with Trump. There is no filter. There is no concern for protocol or what anyone else thinks. He reacts to the world around him like a child throwing a temper tantrum. He condescends to everyone and considers others enemies if they so much as disagree with him. He treats others like the buffoon that he is. Already he has enraged, frightened, or irritated many of our long-standing allies. Already he has lost several battles, most recently on health care, but that is not the issue.

No President has to be a perfect person. None of them can be as we are all human. But a President does need to be a decent and moral human being. This is the problem with Trump. He may be a successful businessman. He may be the winning candidate and now President of the United States. He may even define his politics by what he truly believes is best for the country. But he is not a decent man. That is his failure–not as a politician, but as a human being.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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1 Response to The Failure of Donald Trump

  1. Julie Burgess says:

    This is exactly, word for word, how I feel.

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